Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District

703-324-1460 TTY 711
12055 Government Center Parkway
Suite 905, Fairfax, VA 22035
Willie Woode
Executive Director

Native Seedling Sale

2024 Seedling Sale Information

We are excited to share another year of seedlings with you! You can learn more about the seedlings featured in our 2024 Native Seedling Sale below. We have several changes to our sale this year, so be sure to read this information fully if you are interested in purchasing seedlings.  

We understand that our seedlings are very popular and sell out quickly. To address some of the ordering challenges from past years, we will have a staggered release of seedlings. Seedling packages will be made available on the NVSWCD storefront at 10am, 2pm, and 6pm on Thursday, March 14, 2024 and will remain available until sold out. If you miss the 10am seedlings, check back later in the day at 2pm or 6pm after the inventory has been replenished. 

Don't want to miss the sale? You can sign up for our seedling sale emails by clicking here and we'll send you reminders.

We are utilizing a new sales platform this year which will also address some past ordering challenges. We expect to share that information within a few weeks, so check back soon for more information. We will also be selling rain barrels, tumbler composters, and Plant NOVA Natives guides for this year's seedling sale.

The seedling sale pickup dates are Friday, April 19, from 9am-4pm and Saturday, April 20, from 9am-12pm at the Sleepy Hollow Bath and Racquet Club in Falls Church. Any seedlings not collected during this time will be donated to reforestation efforts in Fairfax County. 

Thank you for supporting NVSWCD, native plants, and local conservation efforts! See you at the sale!

 

Nectar Lovers Package - 6 seedlings for $20

False Indigobush 2 False Indigobush (Amorpha fruiticosa) - BLUE RIBBON

  • 6-12' tall, large shrub
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Dry to moist soils
  • Purple to dark blue flower clusters April-June
  • Larval host to several butterflies
  • Especially valuable to native bees

 

Buttonbush2 Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) - WHITE RIBBON

  • 6-12' tall, large shrub
  • Part to full shade
  • Moist to wet soils, tolerant of standing water
  • White to light pink flowers July-August
  • Beneficial to birds, butterflies, moths and native bees
  • Seeds are eaten by ducks and other waterbirds

 

Silky Dogwood2 Silky Dogwood (Cornus amomum) - PURPLE RIBBON

  • 6-12' tall, large shrub
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Moist soils
  • Clusters of yellowish white flowers March-August
  • Blue or gray berries in the fall
  • Named for silky hairs on twigs and bottom of leaves
  • Attracts birds and pollinators

 

Songbird Friendly Package - 6 Seedlings for $20

Smooth Alder2 Smooth Alder (Alnus serrulata) - GREEN RIBBON

  • 10-15' tall, small tree with multiple trunks
  • Full sun
  • Moist to wet soils
  • Slim green male flowers and red female flowers mature in late winter
  • Dark green leaves turn yellow tinged with red in the fall

 

American Hazelnut2 American Hazelnut (Corylus americana) - YELLOW RIBBON

  • 10-15' tall, small tree
  • Part shade
  • Dry to moist soils
  • Multi-stemmed shrub that naturally forms thickets
  • Brown/red flowers March-April, yellow/red fall foliage
  • Edible nuts attract many species of birds

 

Chickasaw Plum2 Chickasaw Plum (Prunus angustifolia) - RED RIBBON

  • 15' tall, large shrub to small tree
  • Full sun to full shade
  • Dry to moist soils
  • Clusters of fragrant white flowers February-May
  • Yellow fruit ripening to red in August-September
  • Attracts birds and butterflies

 

Hardiness Zone

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map shows 10 different zones, each of which represents an area of winter hardiness for plants. Fairfax County falls into zones 7a-7b. All of our seedlings are suited for planting in the greater Washington, DC area.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Some of our most frequently asked Seedling Sale questions and helpful answers from NVSWCD staff.

What’s the skinny on the Seedling Sale?

The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District holds a Native Tree and Shrub Seedling Sale each spring. The theme and exact species vary from year to year. In 2024, the seedlings will be available for pickup at the Sleepy Hollow Bath and Racquet Club in Falls Church on Friday, April 19, 2024 from 9am-4pm and Saturday, April 20, 2024 from 9am-12pm.

When should I place my order?

We understand that our seedlings are very popular and sell out quickly. To address some of the ordering challenges from past years, we will have a staggered release of seedlings. Seedling packages will be made available on the sales website at 10am, 2pm, and 6pm on Thursday, March 14, 2024 and will remain available until sold out. If you miss the 10am seedlings, check back later in the day at 2pm or 6pm after the inventory has been replenished. 

Are there extras? Can I just show up at pickup?

No, in-person sales will not be available this year in an effort to reduce crowding at the pickup location.

Can my spouse/child/parent/neighbor/best friend pick up my order for me?

Yes. They will need to have your first and last name and a generally honest disposition. A printout of the order confirmation is helpful but not required. Please contact NVSWCD prior to the seedling sale date should you require accommodations.

What happens if I miss the pickup date?

Don’t miss the pickup date! If you can’t make it, please send a friend! (See above.) Please contact NVSWCD prior to the seedling sale date should you require accommodations. There will be no seedling order pickups after the sale. If your order is not collected on the pickup date, it will be donated to a reforestation project in Fairfax County. Seedling sale purchases are nonrefundable.

How large are the packages?Small boy and girl hold seedling packages

Smaller than you might think! These are first- and second-year bare-root trees and shrubs, which means they are small and come without soil. We add a colored ribbon, put together each package, and wrap the roots in wet newspaper and a plastic bag to keep them moist. In the photo at right, each child is holding one package. Each package of 6 seedlings bundled together is typically 1-3 feet long and 4-6 inches wide.

What were last year's ribbon colors?

Check out our new page, Previous Years' Seedling Ribbon Colors, for species names and the color of the ribbon (flagging tape) we used to identify it. You can see this year's seedling ribbon colors and tips and tricks for planting your seedling in the Fairfax County Tree Basics Booklet from NVSWCD and the Fairfax County Tree Commission. 

What should I bring with me for pickup?

A small bucket or basket. You don’t want the package to tip over and spill water on your backseat. Don’t have a bucket? A sturdy double paper bag or large trash bag will do the job.

How do I care for them?

You can learn about bare root seedling care (as well as other tree-related advice) in the Fairfax County Tree Basics Booklet from NVSWCD and the Fairfax County Tree Commission. Keep the roots moist and plant your seedlings as soon as possible. We provide a planting guide when you pick up your seedlings. Dig a hole wider than it is deep. We recommend watering throughout the summer for the first year, especially if your tree or shrub is in direct sunlight. Fertilizer is not needed. A light top-dressing of leaf mulch is optional. 

Worried about deer browse? All of the shrubs and trees in this year's packages would be considered to be moderately vulnerable to deer browse. You can learn more about deer tolerant native plants and protecting your seedlings from deer browse in this resource from Plant NOVA Natives. 

How fast will they grow?

The seedlings typically start out in a dormant state, but when cared for properly, they can grow into lovely landscape specimens faster than you think. Each species has a different growing speed. Since it can be difficult to protect a small first-year seedling from mowers, deer, rabbits and – occasionally – human feet, we include two of every species in the packages.

Rarely – once every several years – we have had a supplier issue (not VDOF) where a large number of seedlings of a particular shrub or tree have not survived. In those cases, we give feedback to the supplier and monitor their seedlings in following years to ensure that it is not a repeat occurrence. Even when that happens, we believe the benefit and low cost we offer by purchasing in bulk outweighs the risk. It’s still a great deal!

Where do you get the seedlings?

Typically we get most of our seedlings from the Virginia Department of Forestry. We like to support our state forestry department and help increase demand for native trees and shrubs. We also purchase seedlings from other neighboring states and private nurseries.

What are the funds used for?

Good question! First, the funds cover the cost of the seedlings and associated program costs. NVSWCD uses any leftover funds to support educational programs, including the high school Envirothon competition, biological stream monitoring, storm drain education, Youth Conservation Camp, Science Fair awards, and other outreach activities. Thank you for supporting these efforts through the Seedling Sale!

Have more questions? Feel free to contact us. 

Fairfax Virtual Assistant